Wear Red Day: Thousands pay colourful fundraising tribute to Leeds heart surgery unit

Thousands of people across the region have given Yorkshire a red glow in a bid to raise vital funds to support children's heart surgery in Leeds.

Amanda Douthwaite and her daughter Elsie, who is a Leeds children's heart unit patient.

More than 200 schools and businesses across the county signed up to take part in yesterday’s (Feb 5)Wear Red Day festivities, while Leeds Trinity University turned its lights red to raise further awareness.

Staff, visitors and even the canines at Dogs Trust Leeds also donned something red and helped to raise money.

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Now in its fourth year, the event is hoped to have made more than the £48,000 raised in 2015 for the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund (CHSF), which supports Leeds’ heart unit.

The facility sees at least 10,000 people each year. Among them is Malton two-year-old Elsie Douthwaite, who is set to have open heart surgery this week.

Mum Amanda said: “We have experienced the help of the CHSF first hand, this is a fantastic way to give something back.”

The CHSF charity, which funds equipment and resources at Leeds General Infirmary’s congenital heart unit, hopes the proceeds of Wear Red Day will help it support the unit reach NHS England’s new standards.

Sharon Coyle, CHSF chief executive, said: “Without the support for Wear Red Day, CHSF would not be able to support our mission to support the new standards set by NHS England, and ensure the retention of the Leeds Congenital Heart Unit.”

Sharon Coyle, chief executive of Leeds Children's Heart Surgery Fund.

NHS England’s new national standards were revealed in July. By reaching the standards, heart units can gain reassurance over their futures.

It comes after a period in which NHS England proposed to close the Leeds unit, overturned the decision, temporarily closed it and then ultimately backed it following a series of reviews and a High Court case.

To donate text WEAR16 £5 to 70070 or visit chsf.org.

Sharon Coyle, chief executive of Leeds Children's Heart Surgery Fund.